Grand Traverse Resort Hosts 26th No Spill Conference About Preserving Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are some of Michigan’s crowning natural features.

This week, a group came together to talk about one thing: keeping them pure and safe.

The Northern Michigan Waterways Hazardous Material Spill Planning Committee — or "No Spills" for short — brought their mission to the Grand Traverse Resort this week.

The 26th Annual No Spills Conference brought emergency planners from across the state to discuss the future of protecting the great lakes.

Groups and speakers ranging from the DEQ, EPA and the Coast Guard (amongst others) sat down and collaborated ways to prevent environmental catastrophes from happening.

The conference began after the 1989 Valdez Alaskan Oil Spill.

Harold Hulbert, a St. Ignace captain who helped in the incident came back and started the conference.

No Spills held its first meeting during the spring of 1990, identifying key players for spill prevention.

What started as three vendors has quickly escalated to many.

"You can plan all you want and they do plan but getting together so the players all know each other better and they come to this conference because they have told me sitting down, face to face, when they are not in an emergency situation helps facilitate when they are working together to do a clean up," says Linda Hensel, chairwoman of the No Spills Committee.

Talking points included toxic algae blooms, Michigan’s oil pipeline and dam maintenance.

They are already planning next year’s event.

For more information about the many speakers that appeared at the conference, as well as No Spills, check out their website.